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"THE FUGITIVE" I remember watching the weekly TV series starring David Janssen as a small boy back in the 1960s. Well, I just watched the remake of David Janssen's "The Fugitive," this one starring Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, and Joe Pantoliano and I must say it's great. I normally don't say this about remakes, but this film really is great. It's emotionally charged from beginning to end, takes you on a roller-coaster ride all the way through keeping you riveted to the edge of your seat with heart-pounding action all the way through. I give it a "Thumbs-Up!" And, that's not something I do with very many remakes. Thanks guys, for a great movie.
You know how you have that "Must See" list of films that you never get
round to watching? I had "The Long Kiss Goodnight" on my list for 10
years but this movie trumps that, a long 16 years after release!
Question is, was it worth the wait? Well, yes and no. Obviously, no
film is worth waiting that long for unless you're the sort of obsessive
fan associated with certain sci-fi franchises. But "The Fugitive" is,
perhaps surprisingly, still a quality action movie that continues to be
a benchmark after all this time. Tense, thrilling and lifted further by
Tommy Lee Jones in blistering form, this is one movie that has not lost
its power over time.
Based on the TV show of the same name, "The Fugitive" opens with the brutal murder of Helen Kimble (Sela Ward), the wife of brilliant Chicago surgeon Dr Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford). Wrongly convicted of her murder and sentenced to death, Dr Kimble escapes and sets out to find the one-armed man who did kill her. Trying to catch him is relentless US Marshall Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) and his dedicated team who don't really care whether Kimble did it or not. And so begins arguably the best manhunt ever committed to film...
A bold statement but compare this to the half-hearted sequel "US Marshalls" (despite Jones' presence) and you begin to understand why "The Fugitive" is held in high regard. There's no CG stunt work, no pointless explosions or needlessly slow-mo gun fights. This is simply a great film that doesn't patronise or try to be anything other than a gripping battle of wills that never lets go of your attention. In fact, the only fault I can think of is that you are just as likely to cheer for Jones as you are for Ford - he thoroughly deserved his Best Supporting Actor Oscar as the helplessly charismatic Gerard. Actually, there is another fault but only if you're a fan of the TV show "Scrubs" - Neil Flynn's all-too-brief appearance will raise a faint smile which breaks the tension somewhat but it quickly passes, thankfully. But from the moment where Kimble escapes from a wonderfully staged train crash, the film rarely lets the tension relax as both Kimble and Gerard get increasingly desperate to get what they both want.
Chances are, though, that you won't have waited 16 years to catch this fantastic action blockbuster. But if you have then prepare yourself for a movie that not only thrills and entertains with ease but one that still can produce the goods today. It stands head-and-shoulders above any other chase movie you could think of (including director Andrew Davis' other famous chase movie "Chain Reaction") but is also a cracking thriller movie that actually delivers the goods. All you have to do is now go out and catch it...
I saw this first in the theater shortly after its' August 1993 release.
I saw it again on fresh video release about seven months later,and
sometime later on a medium I don't immediately recall. EAch time I am
struck by the fact that,despite my(And anybody's,really)ability to
practically recite,not only the plot but the sequence of events,even
some of the exact lines spoken by each character,this film just plain
simply DOES NOT lose its potency,interest,energy or even suspense.
Credit goes to the actors--not only HArrison Ford and Tommy Lee JOnes
as pursued and pursuer,but also JOnes' posse of fellow feds(Joe
PAntoliano,Tom Wood,Daniel Roebuck among them)and the shady side
characters such as Dr.Kimble's colleague(Jeroen Krabbe)or the one-armed
man himself(hulking,brooding Andreas KAtsulas)--for building the
interest through intelligence and uncanny acting AND reacting. Director
Andrew DAvis,a whiz at action films,is able to camera shoot and plan
practically every element of this film to exquisite perfection! David
Twohy's script is parts construction and ad-lib(if you see the extras
on the DVD,you'll know what I mean),and the ability for Ford and some
minor players,such as Ron DEan and Joe Katsulas as the arresting and
highly suspicious(!)detectives,to be able to create a great sense of
conflict and reaction to add tension.
I just caught this again as a free rental,and to me there's really no price on it. I'd buy it,I'd see it on the tele. Maybe you all know the story of the beleaguered and ultimately innocent Dr.Richard Kimble and his chief,cunning, "Les Miserables"-like law enforcement pursuer Philip/Samuel Gerard,but that still shouldn't hinder one from seeing and--for me,anyway--enjoying this excellent piece of big budget film-making(a somewhat rare commodity it seems anymore)again and again.
Well here's a rarity. A film based on a 1963-67 TV series would've been laughed at in the early 1990's. In 1993, Andrew Davis took a beloved TV series and turned it not only a critically acclaimed movie but a $183 million dollar box office smash that also won the 1994 People's Choice Awards, Golden Globe nominations, The Critic's Choice Awards and not but not least, The Oscar For Tommy Lee Jones as best support actor. Very rare that a movie based on a TV series would earn such praise.Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford)is a surgeon who after a party, finds his wife, Helen (Sela Ward) murdered and is attacked by a one armed burglar. With his wife dead, fingerprints all over the crime scene and a 911 call by Helen, this would seem to indicate that Kimble is the killer. Kimble proclaims his innocence but the evidence seals his fate. Convicted and sent to die by lethal injection, fate has an unusual hand for Kimble. On a prisoner transport. a riot ensues, causing a train wreck that frees Kimble and begins his quest to clear his name. On his trail is US Marshall Sam Gerard (Jones) an officer that is determined to get Kimble,alive or dead. As the two men play cat and mouse, Kimble will find evidence pointing that the murder of Helen was meant for him and uncovers a web of greed and medical corruption while Gerard also finds the same evidence that shows that Kimble may be innocent. Will Kimble find the answers to clear his name or will Gerard and his team capture him? Sounds like a great premise for a movie and in 1993, it was. With a great script, taut direction and great performances by everyone, The Fugitive destroyed the notion that TV shows can't make great movies. By taking basic ingredients and turning it into there own, the film wound up being the first film to get award nominations and publicly acclaimed too. Buy it or rent it and see why it remains a classic even today.
When this movie came out in 1993, I was curious about several things.
(1) How Harrison Ford would play the role as opposed to David Janssen.
Ford did a great job of playing a specialist in a big city hospital. I
thought, though, that since David Janssen's Dr. Kimble was a
pediatrician in a small town, his was a more likable character. Also,
Harrison Ford's Dr. Kimble had a pretty weak motive. Why would a
vascular surgeon want to murder his wife for money? David Janssen's Dr.
Kimble at least had a bone of contention with his wife, although I know
we can't blame Harrison Ford for that.
(2) How would they handle Dr. Kimble roaming from town to town solving everyone's problems and moving on in the neighborhood of two hours? (3) How long could Dr. Kimble run and hide, considering forensics were much better in the mid 90s than they were in the mid 60s? I admit I went into that movie ready to compare it to the original TV series, and was ready to rip it to shreds. However, the more I got involved in the movie, the more I forgot that it was spawned from my all-time favorite television show. This movie is pretty doggone exciting. By the time I got out of the theater, I had made up my mind that The Fugitive was a great movie and a great TV show. 9 out of 10 for this one.
I've seen "The Fugitive" dozens of times over the years, and it's one
of the most enduring and intelligent thrillers ever made. Like any
thriller by director William Friedkin, it's basically one long chase
that never pauses or lets you take a breather; it's that exhausting an
experience to watch "The Fugitive." And it has the performances to
boot. Based on the television series, Harrison Ford is Dr. Richard
Kimble, a respected Chicago surgeon who is wrongfully accused of
brutally murdering his wife (Sela Ward). Sentenced to die by lethal
injection by the courts, fate and an attempted jail break (culminating
in one of the most exciting action sequences in the film) spring
Richard free, and place him on the run for his life as he searches for
the real killer. The killer in this case, a one-armed man, is the
obsession of the good doctor as he dawns disguises and tries to stay
one step ahead of dogged F.B.I. marshal Sam Gerard (Best Supporting
Actor Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones) and his team of law enforcement
officers. And the chase is on. As the picture roles, we're in the
action with two men who are both chasing after radically different
goals; it's the hunter and the hunted. We're with Ford's desperate
doctor as he searches vigorously for a fiendish murderer, and we're
with Jones' agent as he tracks Kimble's trail. Andrew Davis ("Under
Siege") directs the film's frequent chase sequences with intense focus
that is reminiscent of what we've become used to in Friedkin's action
films. It's really exciting stuff here.
I don't have much more to say about the film than I have already said in the summary. I have seen it five times already, and the last time it was almost as amusing to me as the first time I saw it. My guess is that the main responsible for this can only be the director.All Andrew Davis' films I saw were interesting, but still not that good as this one. It seems that the order of the scenes is interesting, so that when you see one scene it makes you want to see the next one. The Tommy Lee Jones' character in the movie is one of the best detective characters I've ever seen. "The Fugitive" is not an artistic film,but it doesn't have to be, it is interesting enough as it is.
This is what a movie should be. Can Harrison Ford ever be bad in a
movie?? Well maybe, but not in this one!
This is great from beginning to end. What a cast also. Ford Tommy Lee Jones, and all the supporting cast are great. I was on the edge of my seat through the whole thing and was so happy for Kimble at the end and you really felt his plight. I liked the mixture of suspense , action and even humor throughout. The overall ending varies from that of the original series, but hey that's Hollywood.
Great film for all Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee fans.
If not for Schindlers List that year(Which was phenomenal and deserved the Oscar) The Fugitive may have been the winner.
When Dr Richard Kimble returns home to find his wife dying and an
one-armed man fleeing the scene, nobody believes his story and he finds
himself on a bus heading upstate for the rest of his life. When an
accident finds him freed from his guards, the US Marshals are brought
in to hunt him down. Slipping the net, Kimble starts to try and solve
the murder by following up the clue that nobody else bothered to the
presence of the one-armed man.
It is difficult to comprehend that I first saw this film over a decade ago, have seen it several times since but yet it is still as exciting, fresh and enjoyable as it was the first time I saw it. Perhaps this is down to the fact that the film relies on good old fashioned thrills rather than gimmicks or loads of special effects. The story is interesting, gets down to business very quickly and never really lets up until the end; not an explosive pace but a constant and steady one that has highs but very few lows. Kimble's investigation is the heart of the story but ironically also throws up the slower moments where it is possible to pick holes in the logic but this is a minor fault that I only felt because the rest of the film does its stuff pretty darn well. It is the manhunt where the film comes alive and it is never better than when the two elements come together. The chase keeps up the pace and the sudden moments of action are as exciting as they are memorable. It is not without slow moments and elements of the plot do tend to require you to suspend belief but this is made easier by the way it tends to grip and involve you.
The cast are roundly good; Ford is sturdy and reliable as ever, doing both the "everyman" act and action man role as well as each other however he is simply put in the shade by Tommy Lee Jones who enjoys himself tremendously. He has all the best lines, all the best scenes, is a tough action hero in the way all men wish they were, decisive, tough and has good action scenes; it is telling that the Fugitive 2 was made on the basis of his performance alone. While Jones is great, he is well supported by his Marshals in the form of Pantoliano, Dean, Wood and others. Krabbe is solid enough but, like the others within the murder case, they are less interesting than those within the manhunt. Suffice to say though that the performance you'll remember is from Tommy Lee Jones.
Overall this is a solid thriller, the type of film that I look to Hollywood to produce because this is their strength. The plot is solid enough and mixes an exciting manhunt with a murder investigation, producing a constant pace that is only made better by a hatful of exciting set pieces spread throughout the film. The fact that Jones is such good value only helps the entertainment value of the piece, making the film an enjoyably old-fashioned thriller that continues to stand up to the test of time surprisingly well.
Can you picture anyone other than Harrison Ford playing Dr. Richard Kimble? Can you picture anyone other than Tommy Lee Jones playing Marshal Gerard? The Fugitive is one of the rare remakes. It took an established entertainment product (The Fugitive was a hugely popular television show in the 1960s) and redefined it for new viewers. Older movie goers might not have been able to accept Ford and Jones in their roles, but for the younger movie-goers, the actors inhabited their roles so much that they became those characters. Tommy Lee Jones has been living off of his hard boiled image established in The Fugitive for the past decade. The Fugitive pretty much tells the same story that the TV show did. Dr. Kimble comes home from work to find his wife dead and he becomes the prime suspect. Dr. Kimble is then sentenced to death after his trial. During the transport back to jail, some of the other prisoners attempt a daring escape, resulting in Dr. Kimble escaping the transport bus himself. Now free himself, Kimble attempts to clear his name by finding his wife's murder, he's looking for the infamous one-armed man. Kimble is able to stay one step ahead of the US Marshals trying to relocate him, lead by Gerard. Directed by Andrew Davis, the movie features the right about of action and classic whodunit to keep viewers guessing. The scenes that were most effective were the ones that Kimble hides in plain sight as a janitor, where every person that looks at him might be the one who turns him in. The ending is satisfactory, in so much we finally see Tommy Lee Jones smile. Perhaps we can pause that moment and tell our kids that it did happen once.
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